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Changing of the GuardDavid Poisson Resigns from TANA; Heads To Private Sector Job

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Changing of the Guard

David Poisson Resigns from TANA; Heads To Private Sector Job

After leading an ailing tire dealer association to renewed health and vitality, David Poisson, executive vice president of the Tire Association of North America (TANA), resigned. Poisson, whose four-year tenure concluded at the end of February, joined R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co., a commercial printer and information services company, and will create an online business-to-business trading network in the government marketplace.
“Dave’s resignation makes me sad. It’s like one of your family leaving home,” said Tom Wright, president of TANA, at the association’s Off-The-Road Tire Conference in Tucson, Ariz. last month, where the announcement was made.
“We’ve worked so closely together and he’s more than a business associate, he’s a friend. We will surely miss him.”
Wright added that Poisson’s leadership was highlighted by the turnaround of the association’s finances, as well as the rejuvenation of TANA’s trade show.
Poisson will remain in an advisory capacity through March 30. Ross Kogel Jr., TANA’s marketing director, will serve as interim executive vice president until a replacement can be found. While TANA will continue to move forward, a committee consisting of Wright and TANA officials Nick Hodel, Steve Disney, Larry Morgan and Bill Mayo, will begin a search for Poisson’s successor.
In his letter of resignation to Wright, Poisson noted that he had long had the desire to move into the private sector after years of public sector work. “I have appreciated the opportunity my years with TANA have provided me to work with the very best in North America’s replacement tire market. I feel privileged to have been a part of the effort to get TANA headed in a new direction and have every confidence that under your leadership it will continue its upward trajectory,” he said.

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Cooper’s Pat Rooney retires; Dattilo assumes reins

Pat Rooney, who has spent his entire 44-year career with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., the last six as chairman and CEO, has announced that he will retire effective June 3. Thomas A. Dattilo, who joined Cooper last January as president and COO, was named to succeed Rooney as chairman of the board, president and CEO. He will assume his new duties on April 28.
Dattilo who spent more than 21 years in the automotive parts business and was formerly president of Dana Corp.’s sealing products division, is the first person to take the top job at Cooper who had not been with the company for the majority of his career.
Rooney’s retirement was not unexpected; he leaves his position in accordance with Cooper’s mandatory retirement policy. Rooney will turn 65 in October.
One of the tire industry’s most respected personalities, Rooney steered Cooper’s tire operations through some of the industry’s most turbulent times. In the face of manufacturer consolidations and fast emerging alternate distribution channels, Rooney kept Cooper focused on serving tire dealers.
In the past year, Rooney helped position Cooper as a stronger player in the automotive OE and replacement markets with the recent acquisitions of Standard Products and Siebe Automotive, giving Cooper a solid presence in automotive sealing, vibration controls, hose and plastics products.
The tire side didn’t suffer under his watch, either. Under Rooney’s leadership, Cooper acquired Avon Tyre and Dean Tire, and struck a marketing alliance with Pirelli, giving Cooper access to multiple, respected brands in North America and Europe, and extending Cooper’s reach into South America.
“Pat’s legacy transcends the industries in which we compete. He is a respected leader within the company and throughout the tire and automotive products industries,” said Dattilo. ®We will certainly miss Pat’s leadership, determination and integrity, but these hallmarks have become a part of Cooper and will always continue.®

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World Tire takes control of Tireman operations

Toledo-based wholesaler World Tire Corp. has bought out its former tire and automotive service partner, and now has total control of the 10-location Andersons Tireman Auto Centers in northwest Ohio. The resulting World Tire subsidiary — Tireman Auto Service Centers LLC ®” will have nine retail stores and one commercial tire center, and will be headed by former Andersons Tireman general manager Randy Jones.
Nearly 20 years ago, World Tire and agribusiness giant Andersons Inc. joined forces to create Andersons Tireman. Andersons Tireman reported sales of some $13 million last year, and its new ownership is presently looking for expansion opportunities.
World Tire’s wholesale operation serves approximately 250 tire dealers across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. 

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Bridgestone bulks up in Eastern Europe and Far East

In the space of two weeks, Bridgestone Corp. bought a majority stake in a radial tire manufacturer in the People’s Republic of China and began mass production at a joint venture tire plant in Poland.
Bridgestone acquired Kumho Virgin Islands Inc., a holding company formerly owned by South Korea’s Kumho Industrial Co. Included in the $75 million deal was a 94.5 percent share in Tianjin Kumho Tire Co., which produces passenger and light truck tires at a plant located in Tianjin, China.
In addition to the plant, Bridgestone’s acquisition also netted it Tianjin Kumho’s entire sales network. Tianjin Kumho — now renamed Tianjin Bridgestone Tire Co. ®” was established in 1995, and the plant, capable of producing some 3.5 million tires per year, opened in 1997.
Tianjin Bridgestone is Bridgestone’s second foray into China. Last July, Bridgestone purchased a 60 percent stake in Shenyang Santai Tire Co., which produces radial truck and bus tires for the Chinese market.
In Poznan, Poland, production began at Bridgestone’s $103 million radial passenger and light truck tire plant. A joint venture with Stomil Poznan SA, Bridgestone/Firestone Poland LLC, will reach a capacity of 6,000 units per day by 2001, and 10,000 units per day by 2002.
Bridgestone owns an 83.3 percent share of the joint venture, and construction on the 35-acre plant site began in mid-1998. Tires produced in Poznan will target both OE and replacement accounts throughout Europe, primarily high performance passenger tires.

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Michelin, BFG truck tire prices jump 2.75 percent

Effective Mar. 15, Michelin North America increased the prices of its Michelin and BFGoodrich branded radial truck tires by 2.75 percent. Michelin said the increase was due to increased raw material costs.

Mixed year-end results for tire industry companies

By most measures, the last year of the 20th century was a good one for the tire industry. Still, final financial results from a range of publicly traded companies — Cooper, Goodyear, Michelin, Bandag, Myers Industries, TBC and Vredestein ®” were mixed. Here’s a recap of each company’s fourth quarter and year-end results.

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Goodyear reported net income of $40.8 million for the fourth quarter of 1999, compared with $121.5 million achieved in the fourth quarter of 1998. Fourth quarter 1999 results include $7.7 million ($6.8 million after tax) in net rationalization charges related to its consolidation of Kelly-Springfield operations and the integration of Dunlop operations. For 1999, Goodyear’s net income was $241.1 million, which included the impact of net rationalization charges of $171.6 million. This compared to 1998’s net income of $682.3 million. Worldwide, Goodyear’s fourth quarter sales were $3.6 billion in 1999, versus $3.2 billion in the 1998 period. The Dunlop operations contributed $620 million in sales during the quarter, and tire unit sales were up 13.2 percent from 1998’s fourth quarter. Consolidated sales for 1999 — including the Dunlop operations’ contribution of $855 in sales ®” were $12.9 billion compared with $12.6 billion in 1998. Tire unit sales were up 6.9 percent for the year.

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

The company reported record sales and earnings for 1999. Net sales for the year reached $2.2 billion, an increase of 17.1 percent over 1998 sales. Net income for 1999 was $135.5 million, an increase of 6.7 percent over 1998. Sales for the fourth quarter were $701 million, including $188 million contributed by Standard Products Co. after it was acquired last October, compared to $496 in the prior year, an increase of 41 percent. Net income for the fourth quarter was $31.5 million versus $38.1 million for the 1998 fourth quarter.

TBC Corp.

TBC reported record net sales and earnings for 1999. Income for the year, excluding a special $2.8 million after-tax charge in the second quarter and a net gain from the sale of certain assets in the fourth quarter, rose 19 percent to $20.1 million, compared with net income of $16.9 million in 1998. Net sales for the year increased 15 percent to $743.1 million compared with $646.1 million in 1998. Income for the fourth quarter was $4.6 million, compared with $4.5 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Net sales for the fourth quarter increased 10 percent to $182.7 million compared with $165.8 million last year.

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Vredestein N.V.

Preliminary figures indicate that Vredestein N.V. posted an after-tax profit for 1999 of EUR 10.4 million, and increase of 4 percent compared to 1998’s profits of  EUR 10 million. Consolidated sales rose to EUR 256 million, up slightly from 1998’s EUR 252 million.

Myers Industries Inc.

Myers Industries posted record sales and earnings for both the fourth quarter and the entire year. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $166.6 million, up 51 percent from the $110.5 million reported a year earlier. Net income for the quarter was a record $9.8 million, up 7 percent from the $9.2 million in 1998. For the year, net sales of $580.8 million were 48 percent greater than the $392 million reported in 1998. Net income for the year was $31.2 million, up 9 percent from $28.7 million in 1998.

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Bandag Inc.

  Bandag reported consolidated net earnings of $8.1 million for the fourth quarter of 1999, compared to fourth quarter 1998 net earnings of $18.5 million. Fourth quarter 1999 results include non-recurring charges, net of tax benefits, of approximately $7.7 million for restructuring costs, principally in the North American operations of Bandag’s traditional business. Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter decreased 4 percent to $263.2 million, compared to $275 million in the same quarter of 1998. For the full year, Bandag reported consolidated 1999 net earnings of $52.3 million, on consolidated net sales of $1.01 billion. This compares to 1998 net earnings of $59.3 million on consolidated net sales of $1.06 billion.

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Group Michelin

Group Michelin’s consolidated net sales for 1999 were EUR 13.763 billion, a 10.2 percent increase over the previous year. Sales volume, expressed in tons, was up by 5.2 percent, and the average sales price fell slightly, by 0.3 percent. Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter were EUR 3.911 billion, an increase of 20.2 percent on the sales for the corresponding period of 1998. The increase includes, however, the integration of TCI’s net sales for the last eight months of the year (Michelin acquired Tire Centers Inc. last April). At constant parities and scope of consolidation, net sales were up by 3.4 percent.

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Falken names Smallwood to lead sales and marketing

Falken Tire Corp. has appointed Richard Smallwood as its new director of sales and marketing. Smallwood brings more than 13 years experience in the tire industry to Falken, and has held positions in motorsports, marketing and management within the industry.
Smallwood, who holds a MBA from Pepperdine University, said, “My first objective is to clearly define Falken’s niche in the market and formulate the strategy that will allow us to harness our unique strengths and capabilities. We have an exciting product line that will provide our dealers dramatic growth in the high performance, ultra-high performance and specialty light truck segments of the tire industry.”
With the addition of a number of new products, said Smallwood, “we are further establishing ourselves as the niche supplier of choice.”

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Mailmark lets service dealers profit from Internet

Mailmark, which has built its business sending direct mail service reminders for some 4,500 aftermarket clients, is working to become a hub for affiliate commerce by moving into online marketing with e-Mailmark, a low cost e-mail reminder service, as well as website design services, and its Affiliate Program.
Utilizing contacts within the automotive industry, Mailmark is building a network of affiliates that mutually benefit by driving business to each other. Each time a fast lube, auto service center or car wash affiliate’s customer clicks on the link embedded in their e-mail service reminder or on a link within the affiliate’s web site, the affiliate is either paid a fee for the lead or receives a higher fee if a sale is generated within 30 days. The result is an overhead-free profit center.®′

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